Super Mario Run is Nintendo’s first real foray with a game in the mobile world. It’s a marketplace that is petty, cruel, and cheap. The game has been out only a few short hours and already people are deleting the game. Why? Because you have to pay $9.99 to actually play the game.
Yes, you get to download it for free and you get to play through the first world, which consists of just a handful of levels. All told there are six worlds in the main “campaign”, plus a few other modes to play around with. The package may very well be worth the price that Nintendo is asking. I’m using a Windows based device at the moment so I haven’t had a chance to play it. I’ve been vocal about this not really being a game for me, but I was interested in giving it a chance to see if it could convince me I needed to play it. That just doesn’t seem to be the case if you look around the Twitterverse.
Mobile games have had a history of racing to the bottom when it comes to pricing. Most games release for free with various in-app purchases that you can use to customize the experience, remove ads or just add content to the game. Many games comes with a price tag of just a few bucks. Many people won’t even give your game a second glance if you ask them to pay more than a dollar. Square Enix is famous for putting their games in the $10-20 price range and some people are willing to pay that for those experiences.
Just look at these tweets from a couple hours after the release of Super Mario Run.
These are just a small sampling of the people that are unhappy about having to actually pay to play the game. I don’t really know what these people were expecting. Nintendo hasn’t been shy about telling people it’s going to cost money if you want to play the full game. From the beginning they’ve been saying the game was going to be free to download and try. If you liked the experience you’d have to pay a one time fee to access the rest of the game. It’s been out there in all of the marketing. This was not ever going to be a free to play game.
Here are just a few more of the people that can’t believe a company actually expects you to pay for something they’ve created.
I actually applaud Nintendo for doing this. They’ve been very clear what to expect. It’s not their fault that people expect everything on mobile platforms to be free. The race to the bottom devalued every game that’s out there. Sure, there are many games that may not be worth the bandwith it takes to download them, but many of them are. There have been ways to get around that with the in-app purchases, but personally I think that’s done more to harm mobile gaming spaces than it has to help them. It appears that I’m not the only one either.
Let’s get one thing straight. The only person people have to blame for believing they shouldn’t have to pay for a game is themselves. They’ve brought this on themselves by spending more time expecting the games to be free than they did actually rewarding people for their work. Nintendo told them up front that this game was going to cost money. I would expect their next releases, Fire Emblem and Animal Crossing, to be “premium” as well. The fact that we have to label games that cost money as premium is sad in and of itself. These games are all going to be worth money and people can only point the finger at themselves when they miss out on experiences that could be very good because they had to actually pay for them.